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Month: March 2016

What I Learned From Volunteering & Helping the Homeless

“What I learned from helping the homeless is that it is better to make a contribution to others who need it rather than to yourself” – Yunqi Ji, a Project 5K volunteer

These days, I browse my social media and see various posts of people volunteering, helping the homeless, stripping half naked to give their clothing away or going out of their way to buy meals whilst talking with the homeless and discovering their background stories. In the past, reading those comments of gratitude and ‘FAITH IN HUMANITY RESTORED’ always made me wonder what I could have done to make a difference. But it’s the 21st century and I’m too lazy to go out and help out strangers without a real reason.

Then I walked into high school. Watching my brother struggle to get his 40 hours made volunteering one of my top priorities. Throughout Grade 9, I joined school clubs and councils to fill up those hours.

On a whim, I applied for a few youth councils, but I didn’t think I would get accepted. Applying to these councils have definitely been one of the best and most dramatic experiences in my life. Turns out volunteering can be pretty fun!

So if you’re a couch potato like me, I want to give you a few reasons why you should stop watching “Orange is the New Black” and go volunteer.

Orange is the new black

Please just stop.

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A Living, Breathing Website

1,717,933. That’s the number of lines of code that keeps the main website running on a daily basis, approximately 32,000 of which were written by us. The idea was simple really. Create a platform that would make it easy for youth to sign up for volunteering opportunities. Easy, right?

No, not really. Project 5K is unique in that we handle a ridiculously large volume of data and communications in comparison to most other youth organizations. As a result, the traditional methods that many rely upon don’t work very well for us – sending thousands of emails at once is harder than it sounds. Thus, as the foundational core for many of our critical day-to-day operations, the pressure to keep things running smoothly is immense; like a vital organ, we, the web team, cannot afford to fail.

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What it Means to be a Real Leader

During the summer of my Grade 7 year, I went to an overnight camp for a week. I had to take a bus there, and the few people I knew from last year’s camp were all on a different bus. So there I was, stuck sitting next to people that I didn’t know at all.

We’ve all been there before right? Those times where we sit down and awkwardly avoid any eye contact with the people around us. I’m used to it now, but at that time in my life, I was very nervous and afraid to meet new people, so I just sat quietly in my seat, watching the rocks and the forests fly by.

In the seat in front of me, there was a super outgoing girl. She was making interesting conversation with the people around me, and since she was pretty loud, I couldn’t help but listen in. Midway through the conversation, she noticed I was paying attention. Normally, people get offended, or just flat out pretend you don’t exist. This girl looks at me, smiles, and asks if I wanted to join their conversation.

I was stunned. Here I was, quietly sitting in my seat and then somebody who I didn’t even know straight up asks me if I’d like to participate in the conversation. Obviously, I said yes, and she continued the conversation with me involved. At the time, I was just grateful that I’d have people to talk to; however, now I realize, that moment has completely changed my life.

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Motivation Just Isn’t Enough

Want to follow through? You need more than motivation

It was New Year’s Day and I was inspired. Kevin Pei and Brian Lin, the other Project 5K web developers, had just set up the 5K blog. Maybe it was the sip of champagne that I had, but I  decided to become Project 5K’s blog writer. I was passionate, inspired, and full of motivation. Nothing in the world could stop me! Besides, it was only going to be one article a week… Read more

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